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1.  Does Drinking Location Matter? Profiles of Risky Single-Occasion Drinking by Location and Alcohol-Related Harm among Young Men 
In adolescents and young adults, acute consequences like injuries account for a substantial proportion of alcohol-related harm, especially in risky single-occasion (RSO) drinkers. The primary aim of the study was to characterize different drinking profiles in RSO drinkers according to drinking locations and their relationship to negative, alcohol-related consequences. The sample consisted of 2746 young men from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors who had reported drinking six or more drinks on a single-occasion at least monthly over the preceding 12 months. Principal component analysis on the frequency and amount of drinking at 11 different locations was conducted, and 2 distinguishable components emerged: a non-party-dimension (loading high on theater/cinema, sport clubs, other clubs/societies, restaurants, and sport events) and a party-dimension (loading high on someone else’s home, pubs/bars, discos/nightclubs, outdoor public places, special events, and home). Differential impacts of drinking location profiles were observed on severe negative alcohol-related consequences (SAC). Relative to those classified as low or intermediate in both dimensions, no significant difference experiencing SAC was found among those who were classified as high in the non-party-dimension only. However, those who were classified as high in the party-dimension alone or in both dimensions were more likely to experience SAC. These differential effects remained after adjusting for alcohol consumption (volume and risky single-occasion drinking), personality traits, and peer-influence [adjusted OR = 0.83 (0.68–1.02), 1.57 (1.27–1.96), and 1.72 (1.23–2.41), respectively], indicating independent effects of drinking location on SAC. The inclusion of sociodemographic factors did not alter this association. The fact that this cluster of party-dimension locations seems to predispose young men to experiencing SAC has important implications for alcohol control policies.
PMCID: PMC4050430  PMID: 24959529
drinking locations; drinking profiles; risky single-occasion drinking; negative alcohol-related consequences
2.  A Comparison of two Case-crossover Methods for Studying the Dose-Response Relationship Between Alcohol and Injury 
Contemporary drug problems  2014;41(1):04-.
This study compares dose-response injury risk estimates for two control periods defined as the same 6-hour period the week prior and the set of all non-sleeping 6-hour periods over the past year.
Dose-response injury risk estimates for the multiple match controls are generated via the application of a maximum-likelihood approach.
Injury risk associated with any (i.e., 1 drink or more) drinking 6 hours prior to injury was similar for the two control choices (last week and usual frequency). For 1-4 drinks, risk estimates were similar across control period definitions; for 5+ drinks, risk using the week prior as the control was nearly double that using the past 12 months as the control.
Although studies with smaller ns may benefit from the increase in precision from the use of the multiple control periods, results indicate that heavy drinking injury risk estimates should be used with caution.
PMCID: PMC4013001  PMID: 24817774
relative risk; case-crossover; dose-response; control period definition
3.  Alcohol consumption and social inequality at the individual and country levels—results from an international study 
Background: International comparisons of social inequalities in alcohol use have not been extensively investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of country-level characteristics and individual socio-economic status (SES) on individual alcohol consumption in 33 countries. Methods: Data on 101 525 men and women collected by cross-sectional surveys in 33 countries of the GENACIS study were used. Individual SES was measured by highest attained educational level. Alcohol use measures included drinking status and monthly risky single occasion drinking (RSOD). The relationship between individuals’ education and drinking indicators was examined by meta-analysis. In a second step the individual level data and country data were combined and tested in multilevel models. As country level indicators we used the Purchasing Power Parity of the gross national income, the Gini coefficient and the Gender Gap Index. Results: For both genders and all countries higher individual SES was positively associated with drinking status. Also higher country level SES was associated with higher proportions of drinkers. Lower SES was associated with RSOD among men. Women of higher SES in low income countries were more often RSO drinkers than women of lower SES. The opposite was true in higher income countries. Conclusion: For the most part, findings regarding SES and drinking in higher income countries were as expected. However, women of higher SES in low and middle income countries appear at higher risk of engaging in RSOD. This finding should be kept in mind when developing new policy and prevention initiatives.
PMCID: PMC3610336  PMID: 22562712
4.  Use of Neuroenhancement Drugs: Prevalence, Frequency and Use Expectations in Switzerland 
Objective: The present study investigates the use expectations, prevalence and frequency of neuroenhancement drug (ND) use among the Swiss male population, separating college students from others. Methods: Young Swiss men were invited to participate in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors. A total of 5,967 participants responded to questions on six types of NDs (wakefulness medication, antidepressants, Alzheimer’s disease medication, Parkinson’s disease medication, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, and beta-blockers). The frequency of use depending on five expectations (to enhance wakefulness, attention, memory, concentration and stress reduction) was analyzed for a twelve-month period. Results: (1) About 3% of the sample indicated use of at least one ND; (2) ADHD medication was the most prevalent; (3) The type of ND preferred differed depending on academic status (4). Quantitatively, over the year, college student users used ND much less frequently than other users. Conclusions: Prevalence of ND use is low in Switzerland relative to other countries such as the United States. Patterns of ND use differed depending on academic status, suggesting that while college student ND users tended to do so rarely (probably to enhance cognitive abilities for exams), non-college male users used other NDs more frequently (probably to “get high”).
PMCID: PMC3987019  PMID: 24625621
college students; expectations of use; neuroenhancement; prevalence; smart drugs
5.  Prevalence of and Associated Factors for Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Swiss Men 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89298.
The present study aimed to measure the prevalence of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a large, representative sample of young Swiss men and to assess factors associated with this disorder.
Our sample consisted of 5656 Swiss men (mean age 20 years) who participated in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF). ADHD was assessed with the World Health Organization (WHO) adult ADHD Self Report Screener (ASRS). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between ADHD and several socio-demographic, clinical and familial factors.
The prevalence of ADHD was 4.0%, being higher in older and French-speaking conscripts. A higher prevalence also was identified among men whose mothers had completed primary or high school/university and those with a family history of alcohol or psychiatric problems. Additionally, adults with ADHD demonstrated impairment in their professional life, as well as considerable mental health impairment.
Our results demonstrate that ADHD is common among young Swiss men. The impairments in function and mental health we observed highlight the need for further support and interventions to reduce burden in affected individuals. Interventions that incorporate the whole family also seem crucial.
PMCID: PMC3930697  PMID: 24586672
7.  Factor Structure of Early Smoking Experiences and Associations with Smoking Behavior: Valence or Sensitivity Model? 
The Early Smoking Experience (ESE) questionnaire is the most widely used questionnaire to assess initial subjective experiences of cigarette smoking. However, its factor structure is not clearly defined and can be perceived from two main standpoints: valence, or positive and negative experiences, and sensitivity to nicotine. This article explores the ESE’s factor structure and determines which standpoint was more relevant. It compares two groups of young Swiss men (German- and French-speaking). We examined baseline data on 3,368 tobacco users from a representative sample in the ongoing Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF). ESE, continued tobacco use, weekly smoking and nicotine dependence were assessed. Exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) and structural equation modeling (SEM) were performed. ESEM clearly distinguished positive experiences from negative experiences, but negative experiences were divided in experiences related to dizziness and experiences related to irritations. SEM underlined the reinforcing effects of positive experiences, but also of experiences related to dizziness on nicotine dependence and weekly smoking. The best ESE structure for predictive accuracy of experiences on smoking behavior was a compromise between the valence and sensitivity standpoints, which showed clinical relevance.
PMCID: PMC3881115  PMID: 24287854
early smoking experience; factor structure; smoking behavior; tobacco
8.  Body mass index and health-related quality of life among young Swiss men 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1028.
Studies about the association between body mass index (BMI) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are often limited, because they 1) did not include a broad range of health-risk behaviors as covariates; 2) relied on clinical samples, which might lead to biased results; and 3) did not incorporate underweight individuals. Hence, this study aims to examine associations between BMI (from being underweight through obesity) and HRQOL in a population-based sample, while considering multiple health-risk behaviors (low physical activity, risky alcohol consumption, daily cigarette smoking, frequent cannabis use) as well as socio-demographic characteristics.
A total of 5 387 young Swiss men (mean age = 19.99; standard deviation = 1.24) of a cross-sectional population-based study were included. BMI was calculated (kg/m2) based on self-reported height and weight and divided into ‘underweight’ (<18.5), ‘normal weight’ (18.5-24.9), ‘overweight’ (25.0-29.9) and ‘obese’ (≥30.0). Mental and physical HRQOL was assessed via the SF-12v2. Self-reported information on physical activity, substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis) and socio-demographic characteristics also was collected. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to study the associations between BMI categories and below average mental or physical HRQOL. Substance use variables and socio-demographic variables were used as covariates.
Altogether, 76.3% were normal weight, whereas 3.3% were underweight, 16.5% overweight and 3.9% obese. Being overweight or obese was associated with reduced physical HRQOL (adjusted OR [95% CI] = 1.58 [1.18-2.13] and 2.45 [1.57-3.83], respectively), whereas being underweight predicted reduced mental HRQOL (adjusted OR [95% CI] = 1.49 [1.08-2.05]). Surprisingly, obesity decreased the likelihood of experiencing below average mental HRQOL (adjusted OR [95% CI] = 0.66 [0.46-0.94]). Besides BMI, expressed as a categorical variable, all health-risk behaviors and socio-demographic variables were associated with reduced physical and/or mental HRQOL.
Deviations from normal weight are, even after controlling for important health-risk behaviors and socio-demographic characteristics, associated with compromised physical or mental HRQOL among young men. Hence, preventive programs should aim to preserve or re-establish normal weight. The self-appraised positive mental well-being of obese men noted here, which possibly reflects a response shift, might complicate such efforts.
PMCID: PMC3840558  PMID: 24172041
Health-related quality of life; Body mass index; Physical activity; Alcohol; Cigarettes; Cannabis
9.  A Pre-Post Study on the Appropriateness and Effectiveness of a Web- and Text Messaging-Based Intervention to Reduce Problem Drinking in Emerging Adults 
Problem drinking, particularly risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD), also called “binge drinking”, is widespread among adolescents and young adults in most Western countries. Few studies have tested the effectiveness of interventions to reduce RSOD in young people with heterogeneous and particularly lower educational background.
To test the appropriateness and initial effectiveness of a combined, individually tailored Web- and text messaging (SMS)–based intervention program to reduce problem drinking in vocational school students.
The fully automated program provided: (1) online feedback about an individual’s drinking pattern compared to the drinking norms of an age- and gender-specific reference group, and (2) recurrent individualized SMS messages over a time period of 3 months. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) analyses were used to investigate the longitudinal courses of the following outcomes over the study period of 3 months: RSOD, alcohol-related problems, mean number of standard drinks per week, and maximum number of standard drinks on an occasion.
The program was tested in 36 school classes at 7 vocational schools in Switzerland. Regardless of their drinking behavior, 477 vocational school students who owned a mobile phone were invited to participate in the program. Of these, 364 (76.3%) participated in the program. During the intervention period, 23 out of 364 (6.3%) persons unsubscribed from participating in the program. The GEE analyses revealed decreases in the percentage of persons with RSOD from baseline (75.5%, 210/278) to follow-up assessment (67.6%, 188/278, P<.001), in the percentage of persons with alcohol-related problems (20.4%, 57/280 to 14.3%, 40/280, P=.009), and in the mean number of standard drinks per week: 13.4 (SD 15.3) to 11.3 (SD 14.0), P=.002. They also revealed a trend toward a decrease in the mean of the maximum number of drinks consumed on an occasion: 11.3 (SD 10.3) to 10.5 (SD 10.3), P=.08.
The results show high acceptance and promising effectiveness of this interventional approach, which could be easily and economically implemented within school classes.
PMCID: PMC3785975  PMID: 23999406
alcohol intervention; problem drinking; young people; text messaging; Internet
10.  Alcohol-Related Negative Consequences among Drinkers around the World 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2011;106(8):1391-1405.
This paper examines (1) gender and country differences in negative consequences related to drinking; (2) relative rates of different consequences; (3) country-level predictors of consequences.
Design, setting and participants
Multi-level analyses used survey data from the GENACIS collaboration.
Measures included 17 negative consequences grouped into (a) high endorsement acute, (b) personal and (c) social. Country-level measures included average frequency and quantity of drinking, percent current drinkers, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Human Development Index (HDI).
Overall, the three groupings of consequences were reported by 44%, 12% and 7% of men and by 31%, 6% and 3% of women, respectively. More men than women endorsed all consequences but gender differences were greatest for consequences associated with chronic drinking and social consequences related to male roles. The highest prevalence of consequences was in Uganda, lowest in Uruguay. Personal and social consequences were more likely in countries with higher usual quantity, fewer current drinkers, and lower scores on GDP and HDI. However, significant interactions with individual-level quantity indicated a stronger relationship between consequences and usual quantity among drinkers in countries with lower quantity, more current drinkers and higher scores on GDP and HDI.
Both gender and country need to be taken into consideration when assessing adverse drinking consequences. Individual measures of alcohol consumption and country-level variables are associated with experiencing such consequences. Additionally, country-level variables affect the strength of the relationship between usual quantity consumed by individuals and adverse consequences.
PMCID: PMC3682406  PMID: 21395893
14.  Perception of tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol use of others is associated with one’s own use 
Interventions have been developed to reduce overestimations of substance use among others, especially for alcohol and among students. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge on misperceptions of use for substances other than alcohol. We studied the prevalence of misperceptions of use for tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol and whether the perception of tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol use by others is associated with one’s own use.
Participants (n = 5216) in a cohort study from a census of 20-year-old men (N = 11,819) estimated the prevalence of tobacco and cannabis use among peers of the same age and sex and the percentage of their peers drinking more alcohol than they did. Using the census data, we determined whether participants overestimated, accurately estimated, or underestimated substance use by others. Regression models were used to compare substance use by those who overestimated or underestimated peer substance with those who accurately estimated peer use. Other variables included in the analyses were the presence of close friends with alcohol or other drug problems and family history of substance use.
Tobacco use by others was overestimated by 46.1% and accurately estimated by 37.3% of participants. Cannabis use by others was overestimated by 21.8% and accurately estimated by 31.6% of participants. Alcohol use by others was overestimated by more than half (53.4%) of participants and accurately estimated by 31.0%. In multivariable models, compared with participants who accurately estimated tobacco use by others, those who overestimated it reported smoking more cigarettes per week (incidence rate ratio [IRR] [95% CI], 1.17 [range, 1.05, 1.32]). There was no difference in the number of cigarettes smoked per week between those underestimating and those accurately estimating tobacco use by others (IRR [95% CI], 0.99 [range, 0.84, 1.17]). Compared with participants accurately estimating cannabis use by others, those who overestimated it reported more days of cannabis use per month (IRR [95% CI], 1.43 [range, 1.21, 1.70]), whereas those who underestimated it reported fewer days of cannabis use per month (IRR [95% CI], 0.62 [range, 0.23, 0.75]). Compared with participants accurately estimating alcohol use by others, those who overestimated it reported consuming more drinks per week (IRR [95% CI], 1.57 [range, 1.43, 1.72]), whereas those who underestimated it reported consuming fewer drinks per week (IRR [95% CI], 0.41 [range, 0.34, 0.50]).
Perceptions of substance use by others are associated with one’s own use. In particular, overestimating use by others is frequent among young men and is associated with one’s own greater consumption. This association is independent of the substance use environment, indicating that, even in the case of proximity to a heavy-usage group, perception of use by others may influence one’s own use. If preventive interventions are to be based on normative feedback, and their aim is to reduce overestimations of use by others, then the prevalence of overestimation indicates that they may be of benefit to roughly half the population; or, in the case of cannabis, to as few as 20%. Such interventions should take into account differing strengths of association across substances.
PMCID: PMC3853223  PMID: 24499600
Overestimation; Substance use; Perception; Alcohol; Tobacco; Cannabis
15.  International differences in alcohol use according to sexual orientation 
Substance Abuse  2011;32(4):210-219.
Most research on sexual orientation and alcohol use in the United States has found higher rates of alcohol use and abuse among gay men and lesbians. Studies from other countries have found smaller or no differences between sexual minority and heterosexual women and men. The present study used general population survey data from 14 countries to examine high-volume and risky single-occasion drinking by sexual orientation. Data from 248 gay men and lesbians and 3,720 heterosexuals were analyzed in a case-control design. In several countries partnered or recently partnered gay men and lesbians had no greater risk of heavy drinking or engaging in heavy drinking than heterosexual controls. Only lesbians in North America showed higher risk for both indicators. Future general population health research should include larger samples of gays and lesbians and use more comprehensive measures of sexual orientation for investigating the prevalence of health risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3319346  PMID: 22014251
homosexuality; alcohol drinking; risky drinking; international comparisons; gay; lesbian
16.  Predictive value of readiness, importance, and confidence in ability to change drinking and smoking 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:708.
Visual analog scales (VAS) are sometimes used to assess change constructs that are often considered critical for change. Aims of Study: 1.) To determine the association of readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change alcohol and tobacco use at baseline with the risk for drinking (more than 21 drinks per week/6 drinks or more on a single occasion more than once per month) and smoking (one or more cigarettes per day) six months later. 2.) To determine the association of readiness, importance and confidence with alcohol (number of drinks/week, number of binge drinking episodes/month) and tobacco (number of cigarettes/day) use at six months.
This is a secondary analysis of data from a multi-substance brief intervention randomized trial. A sample of 461 Swiss young men was analyzed as a prospective cohort. Participants were assessed at baseline and six months later on alcohol and tobacco use, and at baseline on readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change constructs, using visual analog scales ranging from 1–10 for drinking and smoking behaviors. Regression models controlling for receipt of brief intervention were employed for each change construct. The lowest level (1–4) of each scale was the reference group that was compared to the medium (5–7) and high (8–10) levels.
Among the 377 subjects reporting unhealthy alcohol use at baseline, mean (SD) readiness, importance and confidence to change drinking scores were 3.9 (3.0), 2.7 (2.2) and 7.2 (3.0), respectively. At follow-up, 108 (29%) reported no unhealthy alcohol use. Readiness was not associated with being risk-free at follow-up, but high importance (OR 2.94; 1.15, 7.50) and high confidence (OR 2.88; 1.46, 5.68) were. Among the 255 smokers at baseline, mean readiness, importance and confidence to change smoking scores were 4.6 (2.6), 5.3 (2.6) and 5.9 (2.7), respectively. At follow-up, 13% (33) reported no longer smoking. Neither readiness nor importance was associated with being a non-smoker, whereas high confidence (OR 3.29; 1.12, 9.62) was.
High confidence in ability to change was associated with favorable outcomes for both drinking and smoking, whereas high importance was associated only with a favorable drinking outcome. This study points to the value of confidence as an important predictor of successful change for both drinking and smoking, and shows the value of importance in predicting successful changes in alcohol use.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3490974  PMID: 22931392
Readiness to change; Importance of changing; Confidence in ability to change; Unhealthy alcohol use; Smoking
17.  Alcohol May Not Cause Partner Violence But It Seems to Make It Worse: A Cross National Comparison of the Relationship Between Alcohol and Severity of Partner Violence 
Journal of interpersonal violence  2010;26(8):1503-1523.
This study assesses whether severity of physical partner aggression is associated with alcohol consumption at the time of the incident, and whether the relationship between drinking and aggression severity is the same for men and women and across different countries. National or large regional general population surveys were conducted in 13 countries as part of the GENACIS collaboration. Respondents described the most physically aggressive act done to them by a partner in the past 2 years, rated the severity of aggression on a scale of 1 to 10, and reported whether either partner had been drinking when the incident occurred. Severity ratings were significantly higher for incidents in which one or both partners had been drinking compared to incidents in which neither partner had been drinking. The relationship did not differ significantly for men and women or by country. We conclude that alcohol consumption may serve to potentiate violence when it occurs, and this pattern holds across a diverse set of cultures. Further research is needed that focuses explicitly on the nature of alcohol’s contribution to intimate partner aggression. Prevention needs to address the possibility of enhanced dangers of intimate partner violence when the partners have been drinking and eliminate any systemic factors that permit alcohol to be used as an excuse. Clinical services for perpetrators and victims of partner violence need to address the role of drinking practices, including the dynamics and process of aggressive incidents that occur when one or both partners have been drinking.
PMCID: PMC3142677  PMID: 20522883
domestic violence; domestic violence and cultural contexts
18.  Determining the best population-level alcohol consumption model and its impact on estimates of alcohol-attributable harms 
The goals of our study are to determine the most appropriate model for alcohol consumption as an exposure for burden of disease, to analyze the effect of the chosen alcohol consumption distribution on the estimation of the alcohol Population- Attributable Fractions (PAFs), and to characterize the chosen alcohol consumption distribution by exploring if there is a global relationship within the distribution.
To identify the best model, the Log-Normal, Gamma, and Weibull prevalence distributions were examined using data from 41 surveys from Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study (GENACIS) and from the European Comparative Alcohol Study. To assess the effect of these distributions on the estimated alcohol PAFs, we calculated the alcohol PAF for diabetes, breast cancer, and pancreatitis using the three above-named distributions and using the more traditional approach based on categories. The relationship between the mean and the standard deviation from the Gamma distribution was estimated using data from 851 datasets for 66 countries from GENACIS and from the STEPwise approach to Surveillance from the World Health Organization.
The Log-Normal distribution provided a poor fit for the survey data, with Gamma and Weibull distributions providing better fits. Additionally, our analyses showed that there were no marked differences for the alcohol PAF estimates based on the Gamma or Weibull distributions compared to PAFs based on categorical alcohol consumption estimates. The standard deviation of the alcohol distribution was highly dependent on the mean, with a unit increase in alcohol consumption associated with a unit increase in the mean of 1.258 (95% CI: 1.223 to 1.293) (R2 = 0.9207) for women and 1.171 (95% CI: 1.144 to 1.197) (R2 = 0. 9474) for men.
Although the Gamma distribution and the Weibull distribution provided similar results, the Gamma distribution is recommended to model alcohol consumption from population surveys due to its fit, flexibility, and the ease with which it can be modified. The results showed that a large degree of variance of the standard deviation of the alcohol consumption Gamma distribution was explained by the mean alcohol consumption, allowing for alcohol consumption to be modeled through a Gamma distribution using only average consumption.
PMCID: PMC3352241  PMID: 22490226
Alcohol consumption; Empirical distribution; Gamma distribution; Log-Normal distribution; Weibull distribution; Population-Attributable Fraction; Exposure distribution; Up-estimation; Per capita consumption; Mean; Standard deviation
19.  Missing value imputation in longitudinal measures of alcohol consumption 
Attrition in longitudinal studies can lead to biased results. The study is motivated by the unexpected observation that alcohol consumption decreased despite of increased availability, which may be due to sample attrition of heavy drinkers. Several imputation methods have been proposed, but rarely compared in longitudinal studies of alcohol consumption. The imputation of consumption level measurements is computationally particularly challenging due to alcohol consumption being a semi-continuous variable (dichotomous drinking status and continuous volume among drinkers), and the non-normality of data in the continuous part. Data come from a longitudinal study in Denmark with four waves (2003–2006) and 1771 individuals at baseline. Five techniques for missing data are compared: Last value carried forward (LVCF) was used as a single, and Hotdeck, Heckman modelling, multivariate imputation by chained equations (MICE), and a Bayesian approach as multiple imputation methods. Predictive mean matching was used to account for non-normality, where instead of imputing regression estimates, “real” observed values from similar cases are imputed. Methods were also compared by means of a simulated dataset. The simulation showed that the Bayesian approach yielded the most unbiased estimates for imputation. The finding of no increase in consumption levels despite a higher availability remained unaltered.
PMCID: PMC3088912  PMID: 21556290
panel surveys; missing data; multiple imputation; Bayesian models; alcohol consumption
22.  Estimating uncertainty of alcohol-attributable fractions for infectious and chronic diseases 
Alcohol is a major risk factor for burden of disease and injuries globally. This paper presents a systematic method to compute the 95% confidence intervals of alcohol-attributable fractions (AAFs) with exposure and risk relations stemming from different sources.
The computation was based on previous work done on modelling drinking prevalence using the gamma distribution and the inherent properties of this distribution. The Monte Carlo approach was applied to derive the variance for each AAF by generating random sets of all the parameters. A large number of random samples were thus created for each AAF to estimate variances. The derivation of the distributions of the different parameters is presented as well as sensitivity analyses which give an estimation of the number of samples required to determine the variance with predetermined precision, and to determine which parameter had the most impact on the variance of the AAFs.
The analysis of the five Asian regions showed that 150 000 samples gave a sufficiently accurate estimation of the 95% confidence intervals for each disease. The relative risk functions accounted for most of the variance in the majority of cases.
Within reasonable computation time, the method yielded very accurate values for variances of AAFs.
PMCID: PMC3088897  PMID: 21496313
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2009;104(9):1487-1500.
To evaluate multinational patterns of gender- and age-specific alcohol consumption.
Design and participants
Large general-population surveys of men’s and women’s drinking behavior (N’s > 900) in 35 countries in 1997–2007 used a standardized questionnaire (25 countries) or measures comparable to those in the standardized questionnaire.
Data from men and women in three age groups (18–34, 35–49, 50–65) showed the prevalence of drinkers, former drinkers, and lifetime abstainers; and the prevalence of high-frequency, high-volume, and heavy episodic drinking among current drinkers. Analyses examined gender ratios for prevalence rates and the direction of changes in prevalence rates across age groups.
Drinking per se and high-volume drinking were consistently more prevalent among men than among women, but lifetime abstention from alcohol was consistently more prevalent among women. Among respondents who had ever been drinkers, women in all age groups were consistently more likely to have stopped drinking than men were. Among drinkers, the prevalence of high-frequency drinking was consistently greatest in the oldest age group, particularly among men. Unexpectedly, the prevalence of drinking per se did not decline consistently with increasing age, and declines in high-volume and heavy episodic drinking with increasing age were more typical in Europe and English-speaking countries.
As expected, men still exceed women in drinking and high-volume drinking, although gender ratios vary. Better explanations are needed for why more women than men quit drinking, and why aging does not consistently reduce drinking and heavy drinking outside Europe and English-speaking countries.
PMCID: PMC2844334  PMID: 19686518
alcohol; drinking patterns; gender differences; age differences; multinational
While the validity of self-reported consumption, based on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has been found to be high in emergency room (ER) samples, little research exists on the estimated number of drinks consumed given a BAC level. Such data would be useful in establishing a dose-response relationship between drinking and risk (e.g., of injury) in those studies for which the number of drinks consumed is not available but BAC is.
Several methods were used to estimate the number of drinks consumed in the six hours prior to injury based on BAC obtained at the time of ER admission of n=1,953 patients who self-reported any drinking 6 hours prior to their injury and who arrived to the ER within six hours of the event, from the merged Emergency Room Collaborative Alcohol Analysis Project (ERCAAP) and the World Health Organization Collaborative Study on Alcohol and Injury across 16 countries.
The relationship between self-reported consumption and averaged BAC within each consumption level appeared to be fairly linear up to about 7 drinks and a BAC of approximately 100 mg/dl. Above about 7 reported drinks, BAC appeared to have no relationship with drinking, possibly representing longer consumption periods than only the 6 hours before injury for those reporting higher quantities consumed. Both the volume estimate from the bivariate BAC to self-report relationship as well as from a Widmark calculation using BAC and time from last drink to arrival to the ER indicated a somewhat weak relationship to actual number of self-reported drinks.
Future studies may benefit from investigating the factors suspected to be driving the weak relationships between these measures, including the actual time over which the reported alcohol was consumed and pattern of drinking over the consumption period.
PMCID: PMC2900453  PMID: 20374201
25.  Statistical modeling of volume of alcohol exposure for epidemiological studies of population health: the US example 
Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor in the global burden of disease, with overall volume of exposure as the principal underlying dimension. Two main sources of data on volume of alcohol exposure are available: surveys and per capita consumption derived from routine statistics such as taxation. As both sources have significant problems, this paper presents an approach that triangulates information from both sources into disaggregated estimates in line with the overall level of per capita consumption.
A modeling approach was applied to the US using data from a large and representative survey, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Different distributions (log-normal, gamma, Weibull) were used to model consumption among drinkers in subgroups defined by sex, age, and ethnicity. The gamma distribution was used to shift the fitted distributions in line with the overall volume as derived from per capita estimates. Implications for alcohol-attributable fractions were presented, using liver cirrhosis as an example.
The triangulation of survey data with aggregated per capita consumption data proved feasible and allowed for modeling of alcohol exposure disaggregated by sex, age, and ethnicity. These models can be used in combination with risk relations for burden of disease calculations. Sensitivity analyses showed that the gamma distribution chosen yielded very similar results in terms of fit and alcohol-attributable mortality as the other tested distributions.
Modeling alcohol consumption via the gamma distribution was feasible. To further refine this approach, research should focus on the main assumptions underlying the approach to explore differences between volume estimates derived from surveys and per capita consumption figures.
PMCID: PMC2841092  PMID: 20202213

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